253 – ‘W’ is for Writing

253 – ‘W’ is for Writing

‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

Hello, It’s another A-Z of WordPress. The series where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WP. Today is for W for Writing.

Preamble


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As we are grouping “XYZ” into one truly anti-climactic episode for the season this is our penultimate episode of the series.

Certainly writing and words are essential to the blogging platform (now CMS / Website builder), in our case WordPress, but we thought we would go wide on this topic and venture into the world of web typography and more generally, writing.

There’s way more under the umbrella of writing than either of us thought, and here’s a summary of the topics which we cover in the podcast…

Web Fonts

Typography

  • Choosing fonts
  • Typeface / font pairs
  • System for spacing

SEO and AI

  • Article lengths – isn’t this silly?
  • AI – robots writing for robots
  • Will the robots make this all moot?
  • Massive content creation abilities in GPT-3, Bertha.ai etc.
  • Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid

Blogging, Forums, Documentation

  • Is the written word alone enough?
  • Are newsletters better?
  • Has anyone solved the problem with outdated forums?

Does the interface matter?

  • Gutenberg
  • Google Docs
  • Simple note taking app
  • Distraction free
  • Scrivener / Atticus etc.
  • The interface needs to reflect the content type?

Are you in the mood?

  • Are you getting paid for this or writing for the love of it?
  • Is this for business or pleasure?
  • Do you read enough to be effective at writing?

Should an expert be the writer?

  • Should we pay a copywriter to do the writing for us, rather than staring at a black page – Todd E. Jones – Copyflight
  • Do you understand the ways to make your writing more effective?

Has the world gone all Twitter?

  • Do we need to worry about the fact that the younger generation (and the rest of us to be honest) are now unable to apply the attention it takes to consume writing. We need it to be brief, punchy etc.

Mixed content

  • What about the fact that in the modern world, content is mixed up? So there’s some text with a picture, a gif, a video, a hyperlink to other things. Have the rules of writing changed?

Do you need to own your own writing?

  • Do we now care about owning our own writing or are we just giving up and making content with the least friction for discoverability. In other words Facebook, Twitter et al.
  • Should we care that we own the content – WordProof?

Will writing even exist?

  • Did you know that the existence of writing comes down to bookkeeping? In ancient Sumer, writing started so that you could keep an inventory of who owed you how many sheep etc. The prosaic stuff came later! Will writing even be needed when we can record all-the-things and they’ll offer the same level of proof. Voice, video, AR all feel like they’re pushing out the attention of the younger generation.
  • You don’t need to Google anything with text now, you just say it, and it speaks back to you.

Accessibility

  • Do we need think more about screen readers?
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group.

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, david Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Nice to have you with us once more. This is episode number 253 entitled w is for writing. It was published on Thursday, the 4th of November, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley and I'll be joined as I am so often in a few minutes by my good friend, David Waumsley, so that we can have our discussion.

We're going through the, a, to Zed of WordPress. And we're really close to the end because we're on w like I said is for writing. But before we get into that, just a few bits of housekeeping. I am putting together a black Friday deals page. It's slowly building up. As people send me their deals. You can find it though, as you always can.

WP Builds dot. Forward slash black. One more time. WP Builds.com forward slash black. It's a searchable and filterable list of WordPress specific deals that might be plugins, themes hosting, and some SAS apps thrown in for good measure as well. But I would really appreciate it. If you want to bookmark that page and use it.

There are a few affiliate links that go in there and that helps to keep the lights on over at WP Builds. But the idea is to make it your one stop shop so that every deal is on there. If by any chance I have missed a deal out. There is a button on there. It's a blue button and I believe it says, add your deal.

And if I've missed something, please go and fill out that form. And I'll try to get it on the site as quickly as I can please keep heading back though, because as I said, things are going to be added as, and when I received them and what's on there today might not be what's on there tomorrow, but it's a busy period.

I know that lots of people put some money to one side in order to make a good investment at a time of year, when everything seems to go berserk in terms of offers off. So once more WP. Dot com forward slash black to make use of that. If you'd like to keep in touch with all that we do at WP Builds, head over to our subscribed page, it will come as no surprise that it's WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe and fill out the form over there.

And we will keep you up to date. There is actually a specific email list. If you look there's two forms on that page. One of them is to keep in touch with all of the content that we produce. So that would be things, for example, like the podcast episodes that you're listening to now, the other form is to keep you in touch with deals.

And so particularly around the black Friday time, that might be a good idea to fill that one out because they're two separate lists. So you're looking for the blue one on the WP build subscribe page. Okay. That's all of the housekeeping out of the way. So this week I'm chatting to David Wamsley all about w is for writing.

When we started out thinking about this topic, we didn't actually think there was an awful lot in it. We were thinking about things like fonts and SEO, but then the more we got into it, the more we started to think. All the different things that are involved in writing. So for example, the interface, are we becoming dumbed down with things like Twitter?

Do we now no longer care about who is the custodian who owns that content? Do we now have to worry more about mixed content? So throwing video and gifts and images at our writing as well, and in the future, what about AI? Is that going to take the job of writing good content away there's loads in this episode, and I hope that you enjoy.

[00:03:36] David Waumsley: Hello, it's another eight. Is that a web press, a series where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building our meant in his sites with WordPress today is w for writing and well, to be honest, when we said we would do this one, it was going to be because of the fact that we use a B, and we couldn't have it on blogging, but Nathan you've come up with so many kind of areas we can talk about when it comes to writing.

And I'm

[00:04:00] Nathan Wrigley: WordPress. Can I just say.

I think we've got the wrong letter. Yeah, very funny. Nathan Carhartt. Yeah. W for writing, there's absolutely loads in this and it just splurged out didn't it, there was so many different things that, that we didn't really think about the beginning. We, we started thinking about all the typical stuff, like fonts and typography and all of that.

And then loads of things came to mind. If you're a blogger, probably a lot of this will have occurred to you. Where should we start?

[00:04:35] David Waumsley: This is kind random order. Ready. So we'll start with, should we talk about a web Fonz because that's been something I'm into recently? Mainly because of performance and all that.

I've been doing some content on using different things and so many exciting things going on with picking fonts because this whole. Google's doing that in a moment with these variable fonts. I don't know if you know about

[00:04:57] Nathan Wrigley: I, actually, the only reason I know about it because I watched your video, but it would be quite interesting.

Just give us the 32nd lowdown. Cause it's. Yeah,

[00:05:06] David Waumsley: Previously, fonts have been changing all the time. It's been difficult to deliver anything other than just system fonts and they've been heavy and we've needed to support different browser types. And pretty much now the support is there for Google's format, which is worth two.

So we can slim it down pretty much now to one type of file. But what they've done now is instead of having to deliver different ways with different files that they've got this variable font, which is just one, which will deliver all the different ranges of weights that you could have, and actually weights within the typical weights.

So it's fully variable and there's all sorts of stuff. Adaptive funds they're working on as well, where you'll get much more control about how. Kind of manipulate the individual characters and the curtain in, and that kind of stuff that I don't really understand. So I think it's exciting times ready for web.

[00:05:57] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. It's interesting that it's all being packaged up in one file, if you'd like, so rather than having all the different weights and everything, which obviously is multiple things. Now, it's all going to be rolled into one. I've got to say, I know, obviously you're keen on it and you made that YouTube video.

And what have you, I think I'm almost immune to. To, to noticing fonts in that if a font is spectacularly bad, like comic Sans bad, then I will see it. And I will think, Ooh, but typically, whatever a website displays to me, I'll just accept it as what it is. And I don't find myself remarking all.

That's a nice font. I obviously all the other people do, but it's just not something that really occurs to me. If it's readable. The font size, I think is more crucial to me. I actually discovered to my horror this week that I, there was a setting in, on my phone, which will throw out the whole phone experience.

It will increase the font size. And I discovered, like I said to my horror. Having it on extra large is now required. I'm basically slowly going blind.

[00:07:09] David Waumsley: Yeah. Typography. That's what we're moving to now is really something where I thought I couldn't tell. I bet you can. I've noticed. When people share designs that look really fabulous.

I find myself going and looking at the fonts that they've chosen for their designer, nearly, always. Is it something that they've selected? Maybe it's just the free one that's available, but it's not one of the Google fonts that I would go for because they're there. And you just think I'm always in all orbit, these people who just managed.

Somehow deliver the right font. And it's not just that is it. It's the parents, it's the systems that some people have. And I meant to check this out for this talk because there are various systems. I think it was ch Shantelle at, I was getting, it was censored. Yeah. Who was talking about this? She's been looking into this and there were certain.

Proportion certain ratios that you set for your fonts that make things look good. And I think if you'd know this stuff and you do it, you can tell yes. Yes,

[00:08:15] Nathan Wrigley: yes. Yeah. You're right. Of course. And, and I probably would on some level notice it, but it never seems to. Bubble up to the top of my consciousness.

I'm not often finding myself for example, the time I think when I'm exposed to most fonts would probably be in a supermarket. Every product has got a different font. They're trying to reach out and, make themselves look happy or they make themselves look exciting or whatever it might be or reliable or whatever.

And I just don't. See the word and think, okay, that's Tabasco sauce. That's a, that's, that's baked, baked beans or whatever it might be, but it's fascinating that you do dwell on it. That's really interesting.

[00:08:57] David Waumsley: I'm starting to, because I'm just not good at design and I feel I need to be better and I just appreciate it when people are.

So I feel like I need to understand a bit more about the characters and behind it. Psychology stuff that interests me really picking the right type of graphy. It, they do communicate something different. And of course that's the functional side of things and an interest in if, going back to the whole Google thing with the variable fonts and being able to deliver fast, more kind of better typography, I just set up a new blog that I'm doing, and guess what?

I've gone for Georgia font. Nice. That system font,

[00:09:33] Nathan Wrigley: but it's reliable. You don't have to do anything. It's just there on everybody's machine and it will definitely be quick to.

[00:09:40] David Waumsley: Yeah. I mean, some of those we've forgotten about those going back to those old system fonts, because as soon as Google came with, suddenly we were stuck with it for all our experience where we learned the web, that's all we had, this isn't that we just had to pick, say fonts.

[00:09:53] Nathan Wrigley: Do you know what I mean? Although I say all of that kind of thing, I'm not advocating that Georgia should be everywhere or everybody must use Helvetica or anything, but the world would be a dollar place. If we didn't have all of the. The, the example of the supermarket, it would be, although I'm not really noticing it, it would be a much more bland world.

Had we not got people obsessing about.

[00:10:16] David Waumsley: This is a wonderful thing has happened. They shout I'm going to keep quiet for the moment. I'm doing a website, which has been going on for a long time for an existing client who I really like and done lots of work for. And they really, they're designing it and they've really got the desire to scale.

Nice more, knowledgeable on this stuff. But the interesting thing was with the topography they'd been asking me, can we get this far? I said, yes, you can, but you need to pay for it. And the web license for it. And they'd never done it. Anyway. I found something which is Google font, close to what they wanted.

I stuck this one in and they actually, because they know what they're doing. They went and changed it to how Vertica. And they were really happy with it, but I know what's actually happening on their computers. They've got the version of Helvetica that they want to see. So I see them. It's wonderful to me, it looks a little bit off, so it's just what

[00:11:07] Nathan Wrigley: they're familiar with.

Yeah. Yeah,

[00:11:09] David Waumsley: nice systems.

[00:11:11] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So that's web fonts and a smattering of typography. That's interesting. Where are we going next? SEO. The purpose of writing more and more is just to imagine it just a few years. Yeah. Almost nobody had to be skilled at writing in the way that millions of people now need to be skilled at writing because previously the only road to writing was either for your own personal, maybe a diary or something, or if you were paid to do it, maybe a journalist or maybe you're involved in marketing a product or something.

But now, and of course there was no SEO. There was no thought of having to write it with search and. Compatibility in mind, you just wrote, to whatever template was required for the style that you were choosing. But now we've got millions of people obsessing about the structure of their writing so that an algorithm can pick up on it.

It's bizarre.

[00:12:06] David Waumsley: Yeah. WordPress is there and popular because it's a blogging platform. Blogging platforms where a way to make a new income, you know, the whole content marketing online stuff started, and everybody wants to get in that for their business. But it is interesting, I think, where we've got to now, because the other side of this is.

AI side of it. Now we've got to that point where we can get the robots to write our content as well. So we can put more out there to Google, to search. And I think we're in a really interesting place at the moment with that.

[00:12:41] Nathan Wrigley: It's really interesting as well, because where there's so many constraints that are applied to SEO.

I wonder if anybody who is a writer actually revels. In the SEO side of things. I wonder if there's a single writer who doesn't feel constrained by it, who feels it's like you know, it's freeing and marvelous. And it allows me to do so many great things because, we've got things like the length the amount of words that you've decided to adopt the.

The propensity of keywords that you wish to be ranked for and where to put them title tags, meta descriptions, all of this kind of stuff suddenly becomes really important. You've got to worry about packing things in a way that nobody ever used to have.

[00:13:28] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think, what more worrying is the people who only write for the SEO purposes of it.

And interestingly enough, I've moved to an SEO plugin, a slim SEO, which I'm using on most of it, which is something which we were talking about earlier, just in Tadlock, who writes for WP Tavern. He also used that and he made he reviewed. Particular plugin. And he talked about the fact that for him, there might be some things that it's lacking, but for him, he doesn't want to be bothered about this.

He wants to just get on with the business of writing. And this just does the main things that he needs to do in terms of SEO. And I think, yeah that's going to be true for most of the people own go to serve.

[00:14:09] Nathan Wrigley: That's interesting as well, isn't it? Because for some people, so for example, Justin's working for a well-respected publication with a boatload of.

Traffic and respect. And so I guess in a certain sense, the SEO play is of less consequence because it's probably being ranked by Google really well already. But I'm presuming that there are other people who are, I don't know who they're trying to launch that blog and sell widgets, and they need to make sure that Google knows they sell widgets and just how effective they are at selling widgets.

So they, I presume there are a bunch of people for whom the SEO stuff really has to be.

[00:14:48] David Waumsley: Do you think still though, when you go, your Google search and you find articles, do you feel often that you land on them and you think this has just been written for SEO purposes all

[00:14:59] Nathan Wrigley: the time? Yeah. Yeah. All the time, especially how to.

I find myself asking Google how to do a myriad of things every week. There's something that I need to do that I've never done before. And you get to the article and it's so obviously without any merit, there is no actual how to information. It's just, they've just somehow managed to persuade Google that this was in fact a helpful article and yeah, that, that bamboozles me all the time.

And you just click. Button and you're off again, try something else. And usually you stumble upon something, but it is amazing still how effective people are at faking it.

[00:15:43] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think Google will find a way to build, to take care of that. We know that they're already against the idea of using AI.

In fact, it's one of their policies. If you don't do that without putting some human input into using that they want to ban you for that. Even if I think it's almost impossible at the moment for them to be able to work. When it's been created by robots, but I think maybe we're in a time where, I kind of flare or character that you bring into your writing will, will mean something again.

And I think maybe Google will find a way to be able to compensate. So the good stuff it's not they're generated for their purposes stuff.

[00:16:26] Nathan Wrigley: That's an interesting parallel, isn't it? Because if you think about it, people are prepared to pay significantly more. Oh, I know. Let me try and find it because that furniture, for example, they're prepared to pay significantly more money for a table that they know an Artism has created by hand than one from say.

Both of them with a tablecloth over them, they're the same who would know, but people are prepared to respect the fact that somebody put a load of time in and effort in and made this object. And it's unique. And it's been done by somebody carefully, thoughtfully, and maybe the same will be true.

Ultimately with writing, we'll all spots that by this field, This feels like an AI has written this and that will become less popular. And I've got to imagine that there must be something in the Google algorithm that is figuring out whether this has been written by AI because Google com want AI to be the thing I can't imagine.

No, they're very

[00:17:30] David Waumsley: specific about it. They've actually written to that effect that they don't, if it's not it's one of their kind of Bantible things. So I've definitely seen that. So if you're just writing with the technologies that GP T3, isn't it that's you have to train, but if they know it's being written.

Any manual input to it, they they've written that they can quite happily delist

[00:17:55] Nathan Wrigley: you? Yeah, that's interesting. I think the idea of some of the software that's come around to, to enable you to use AI. So there's this new WordPress plugin birth.ai, but there's also a whole suite of SAS apps, which do the same thing.

I think the way that they skirt around it is to describe their product as it just gets you started, it will put. In your way that you excuse me, that you may not have thought of. And then very much from there you're on your own, don't just push 10,000 words out that the AI wrote, go and look, get some ideas, delete things, modify things.

So we'll have to see how that goes. And that brings into mind. Some of the, it's not the same thing at all, but it's similar, I puts it on the AI a little bit is things like Grammarly and pro writing aid, which are both softwares, which we'll look at the writing you've already done and make decisions to help you write a little bit more effectively.

So give you tips about style and obviously things basic things like punctuation and grammar, but I use those quite a lot and I'm always amazed at how verbose I am and how many more words I pack in than I need to, especially the word.

[00:19:10] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah. I think, the same. I use pro writing aid with you, put me on to it and I've turned it off most of the time, because as I'm terrible at writing when we're typing to each other.

But so it's constantly correcting me, but sometimes I feel it's a little bit over the top. It's for brevity, but sometimes you need it and then do you know what? I think they're very different actually. So Grammarly and pro writing aid and. Bertha. I think the different, why I think Grammarly and stuff will help you to slim down your own style to make it easy to read for other people where I think the AI stuff it would, might help you with the SEO at the moment, but it's not going to help you with the conversion.

And I think Grammarly will help you with the conversion. It will tidy up what you're saying.

[00:20:02] Nathan Wrigley: I'm the same as you. I switch it off whilst I'm writing, because I find the way that it interferes with the visual interface, let's say you've got a Google doc open, cause it's compatible with that and, or Gutenberg or whatever.

It's constantly. Instructing you by underlining things in bold colors. And what have you that this needs addressing. And I just, I finished what I'm doing, then switch it on, go away, make a cup of tea, come back. And all the suggestions are, have been thought out. And then I just go through and dismiss them or use them as I see fit.

But really helpful. You and I both went to school in an era when grandma's. Popular to be T basically you and I, we had to learn grammar by osmosis. It really was not in fashion. And so I would imagine there's a whole generation of people just like you and me for whom that it's not instinctive.

And we never really got taught it.

[00:20:56] David Waumsley: I'm older than you and I had chalk in the slate.

[00:21:01] Nathan Wrigley: Did you not get to taught grammar though? Or did you get taught? Because I definitely didn't.

[00:21:06] David Waumsley: No, I don't think I did. Lincolnshire education really. Wasn't hot on that kind of stuff, that's

[00:21:12] Nathan Wrigley: right. We were taught, fallen how to farm things like

[00:21:16] David Waumsley: that, things that were going to be more important to our lives.

[00:21:18] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What about what about the nature of the writing that we're doing? There's a whole ton of stuff in here. So for example blogging platforms, forums, documentation, the different styles of writing that you could get involved in. That's important. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:21:37] David Waumsley: Yeah. I don't know what we can say on this side.

[00:21:40] Nathan Wrigley: I guess it's just good to point it out. There, there are a whole myriad of different reasons for writing. So if you're a blogger, I guess the constraints are off aren't there. You can pretty much write whatever you like in your own style. Nobody's going to be critical of you. It's just the way it's done.

You can be politically. Hostile or you could be gentle, whatever it is that you want to be. And then I guess the writing, for example, in forums, you've got to modify the way that you do things. Hopefully you're going to try not to inflame people and be constructive and helpful and polite and all those kinds of things.

And then, if you're into writing documentation for something, let's say you've got a WordPress plugin, there's definitely a style that you've got to adopt and it might be. Less interesting. Shall we say certainly less personal, but it's a whole different suite of ways to.

[00:22:30] David Waumsley: Yeah, it's interesting.

And we were just talking earlier, this is going a little bit off topic, but it's I guess, related to Grammarly and picking up on your vats. And we were saying about, we'd both have to talk to Canberra occasionally because we do video content and you were saying you had to read stuff and you became robotic, not your normal character.

And I find the same. I can read out loud what I've written to somebody, and it seems fine if I try and do that before Canberra, it just doesn't seem right. And somehow this is where I think Grambling and prorated sometimes don't help you because if I talk and I say and then move on to my next topic.

It's not good grammar, but it is my voice coming through the writing. So sometimes think, that's and you do, I think when you're blogging, I think you somehow. Be your most of the time, it's got to be your voice where you're right with the documentation. It's not people just need the information they need to achieve a goal.

Yeah.

[00:23:28] Nathan Wrigley: I found, I have written documentation in the past and I've found it really a difficult job to do it largely because. It doesn't fit almost any of my attributes. And so I get bored with it quickly, so I tend to wander off. So the job which should take 20 minutes takes five hours. And so I'm very noneffective.

That's not a word, is it? But anyway, ineffective, that's the word I was after. But this is why I don't do any public speaking because I know that if I. If I read out the text, if I write everything and then read it verbatim, I will be wooden. And it will be horrible to any, for anybody to listen to. But if I don't write out the text, I won't be on message.

If I just write bullet points out, I just wander off and I just get totally lost down a blind alley. So no public speaking for Nathan I'm all right. Winging it like this. I can talk for hours, but if it's got to be on message, like at a word campus, Yeah, it's not for me. I know

[00:24:27] David Waumsley: it's is fascinating textbook back to my university days because I'm, I'm like this.

I remember the, you, the lecturers who had the long standing and credibility, who I really enjoyed were often the ones who knew. Finished on time. So they would have a like their hour slot or something, but it wouldn't be like me a little bit. If I try, I'm useless at public speaking, but I do the same kind of thing.

I wonder around the stage here, just riffing off the top of my head, and, and go completely off or get lost. And that's what the ones that used to engage me used to do that. And then of course there were these new lecturers who's to did public speaking, who would pretty much follow a. I don't know, American textbook or something, calm the subject.

And he would have clear headings and they would cover each of the points that were in there. But for me, it was always dull. Yeah. So maybe you should do public speaking.

[00:25:18] Nathan Wrigley: Oh no. Nobody wants to be put through that horror. They Just something occurred to me. I went to the I went to play some sport with my sons the other day and went into the gym and quickly thought I don't ever want to be in this room.

I just, there's nothing about the gym that excites me, swimming pool, that's kind nice. I quite like that. And badminton. Yeah, I'll do that. Table tennis, whatever. Or. Different things. So they're all sport, but they're completely different. And it's the same, with writing, it's all writing, but there's different styles and there's different ways of doing it.

So we mentioned blogging forums, documentation. There's obviously other things like newsletters or, brief content sales, marketing, copy the list. Oh. And obviously novels and long form. Prose and poetry and all sorts. And I guess it just depends. Some people are going to be more into reading as well as writing all of those different types.

And I would imagine not everybody can be good at all of it.

[00:26:19] David Waumsley: Yeah. And you've just solve something for me. I think that's the point of the blog in isn't it? I think most of the time, the blog in his personal, it needs to find your voice. And I think that's probably why AI won't be able to manage to replicate that.

And that's why we spot things are other made for SEO, because there's just not a real person talking to you about their

[00:26:40] Nathan Wrigley: life. I guess the Turing test for writing from AI world. The moment when it can actually make me laugh, will it ever be able to write down a joke that they, that it's created in a context of a story?

There's a big buildup, like some comedians do, they spend 10 minutes getting to the line, which is just, oh, that was all coming to this moment will ever be able to do that. That would be the moment. And at that point, I think I'm just going to give up and assume that the robots have.

[00:27:09] David Waumsley: You know what I mean?

I bought one of these AI tools. I think it's called writer, but it's spelled, I think R Y T E they

[00:27:17] Nathan Wrigley: start with an author, right? Yeah,

[00:27:20] David Waumsley: exactly. But you know, it's interesting. It's got humorous mode on it, so you can get it to write in humorously. It doesn't work. It's not. Once,

[00:27:29] Nathan Wrigley: that may be that's the joke.

It's the wrong, the irony bottom. It doesn't work. Cause it's ironic. It's not supposed to be funny. Okay. Let's crack on. So he knows like different styles of writing. I put down the idea of the interface, mattering and writing. So when I was a kid, The interface was a pencil or a pen and a piece of paper.

And then when I got to be about eight along came computers, but they weren't for writing. There was just the impediments to it all was so great that it was useless. But now we're at the point where certainly where I live, there are devices littering all over the place. So obviously you can still use your pencil and paper, but now we've got to the point where the style of writing that you're about to prefer.

Really means that you may open something or reach for something completely different. So an example might be, I. At least once a week, I will go into Evernote, which you I'm sure you've all heard of Evernote. But one of the options that you can do is basically create a list and every time you click return, it then creates another, a new line, but with a checkbox next to it.

And the idea being that once your list is complete, you can go back through and just tick, tick tick, tick. So for example, I might use that on shopping and that's a real. Brilliant case of writing for a purpose in an interface, which, which matters for blogging on WP built, I'm using Gutenberg and it works supremely.

I can move the content up and down. Links are handled really well now as occasionally when I don't want it to become a link, but I can convert that back. And, sometimes it tries to drag in the featured image and things like that, which you don't want, but for writing for the book, It's perfect.

I use Google docs quite a lot because it's, clutter-free, there's just nothing really getting in the way, very minimal interface, which I quite like. But then there's all sorts of other writing apps. There's one for, I think it's windows and Mac probably more, I don't know, but called Scrivener, which is for authors to create, but basically novels.

And it, it brings into the interface, all sorts of information that you need to hand about the story at large. Portraits of the characters and it brings in information about what you're intending this chapter to be so that you can be mindful of the wider story at the same time. So I think the interface is there's just so many.

Yeah,

[00:29:55] David Waumsley: you put this down as note and I thought, what you on about, but I actually think is quite significant. And it made me think about Gutenberg. You and I slightly different, you like writing with that for the posts that you do for WP bills, it's it really works well for you. And I'm not such a big fan.

And I, but I realized that I was talking about the fact that like Google documents, if I need to write something like a blog post or something, I'd probably rather do it there. Yeah. But it depends. Yeah. Sectioned off your content is and how you're imagining it on the site. So I wouldn't write in a Google document unless I was mapping out a pet, a home page or something.

I might put some titles there to think about my thoughts, but when it comes to. Writing on a home page or something. I want to do it with the font that's there and the space that's available. So I'm back into my page builder wanting to see it as it will show on the page. That's fascinating.

Yeah. Influence, yeah. Influence the length of my sentences because how it's going to sit well on the page. So that's

[00:30:54] Nathan Wrigley: really. Moment where fonts and type biography and the interface collide and all of it. In your case you want to see it and make the length of it so that it fits in that box perfectly.

Yes, really. Yeah.

[00:31:10] David Waumsley: So I, it does, I think it does matter a new arm in different modes for this. So yeah, I think it's a really good point. And actually it will change. I think, how you interact with WordPress and light good vocal, not, because what you're using it for. It's

[00:31:25] Nathan Wrigley: interesting as well, because in this, and we'll come back to this and a little bit in this.

The whole time, I was thinking about bigger pieces of writing. You know, Guttenberg is for fairly lengthy pieces potentially. So it was a Google doc, so potentially could be Evernote and what have you and Scrivener and all of those kinds of things. But then we'll come to social media very often the context there.

Brief as possible. The these incredibly popular apps, which have swept the world, starting with text SMS a long time ago, just brief punchy little messages and my friends community, sorry, not my friends. My, my children's friends. That is the mode of communication. Now, brief to the point, punchy, punctuated with gifts and emojis.

It's just so different from what we had as kids.

[00:32:13] David Waumsley: Yeah. I, yeah, I. But we were talking earlier about this nuisance. You, they know your thing is have we all, has the world gone all with Twitter? Is that the way, he's writing gonna die out, which is what you were thinking about. And I was just thinking, I just think it's a different form of communication that has one context, yeah. I think the younger generation, it's a new tool that's available modus something that, you know I've grown to love. I couldn't believe that could ever happen. I just thought they were just so childish. It's stupid, but a great way of communicating.

[00:32:51] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Do you know what? I remember almost being like cynical when somebody would send an emoji my way, I'd be like, oh, come on, grow up.

And now I'm like, emoji crazy. I love it. I've got this limited, tiny palette of ones that I use, the sort of. The wink to indicate that actually that was ironic because I can't help, but be sarcastic. And sometimes I'd write to people and think actually that's maybe too subtle and that could come across as like hurtful.

So I add the wink in and I'm mindful. And I'm thinking at that point that got to that mess up. Of course it doesn't always end up having to apologize, but but yeah, here's an interesting fact that that most people maybe do or don't know, was not invented for the beautiful things that we all imagine it was invented for.

So obviously every body, Lord Shakespeare and the great works of prose throughout the centuries. And we all think this is what writing was invented for. It wasn't writing was invented in ancient Sumo. It was on clay tablets and they would press these reads into clay tablets in certain configurations.

And it was called QA a form and QA. Initially was a, an accounting system. So it was basically, so the oldest clay tablets that we've got with cuneiform on are things like you owe me three sheep. You owe me six bushels of wheat or whatever. It might be an only much later. Much later in the March of history of the world.

It's not that much later, but in human terms, it was quite a lot only much later. Did it start to be repurposed for things like, oh, we could start writing fun things down instead of things that we want to remember as opposed to just bookkeeping.

[00:34:44] David Waumsley: Interesting. What other WordPress podcasts would you learn that con that's right.

You've got

[00:34:50] Nathan Wrigley: you heard it here first QA or form? Yeah, I actually wrote an, I actually wrote an essay about this at university. So that's why I've got I got on my high horse, but it was fascinating because it. Just a an odd thought to think that writing didn't come about in order to, so that we can use our voice to communicate and be emotional.

It really was the sort of stuff that you receive from your bank. That nobody's getting excited about the bank statement when it arrives. Are they.

[00:35:19] David Waumsley: No, but you know what, something just occurred to me when you said that you put a little wind con because you thought it could be interpreted as sarcastic.

Yeah. I somehow think in a way the emoji then can spoil things a little bit because it makes it so obvious what you're doing. And there is nothing bigger, a big laugh out loud for when you read something. It takes you a moment to realize what they're actually saying. Okay. There's a bigger laugh. Isn't that?

What you're slightly confused about some of these intention, and then you get it.

[00:35:50] Nathan Wrigley: So I wonder if emojis can be considered writing. I wonder if they contain the kernel of what writing is, if they add something in a visual form, is it writing here's another question is consuming audio content.

Reading. So a perfect example of this is if you subscribe to all audible, which is it's Amazon's thing, I'm sure there's a whole bunch of rival services, but I don't know the names of them. And you listen to an audio book. Have you read.

[00:36:22] David Waumsley: Yeah, that's an interesting one. I think a lot of people do say they have, they

[00:36:25] Nathan Wrigley: do.

They say that people might read the book. And to me, reading is, is things coming through the, our use. But then of course, that, that brings into mind the whole accessibility thing, because there's a whole bunch of people who will communicate, let's say for example, they might be reading via braille, so it's coming through the fingers.

And so if it's coming through the fingers, couldn't it come through the, you. As well as the ears and yeah, just fascinating. Huh?

[00:36:55] David Waumsley: Do you know what, that's one thing when we're talking about accessibility, one thing I don't know, I've never tested this out because I do have on my computer, one of the tools and we should do these.

I never use it enough, which is I'm looking at what is called this. I think I've written it down and the D a yeah. That's the one that I used to do to just simulate what the screen reader will have when someone's reminded me about accessibility. But one thing I don't know is how it deals with

[00:37:20] Nathan Wrigley: emojis.

Oh yeah. That's interesting because you imagine it would contain. Some metadata about what it is. You know, it might say wink or something. It's actually quite interesting. When you look at an emoji in a, in an app that can't pass it and you often see it just got some quirky characters and then it says wink, or, laugh out loud or something.

You think what? Oh, okay. That was supposed to be an emoji. And maybe that's going to be passed over to the screen reader. Interesting.

[00:37:53] David Waumsley: Yeah, I guess he can do, I guess it's built into the system, but it just popped up as a question,

[00:37:58] Nathan Wrigley: Tommy. Oh yeah. Sorry. I was going to say on our show notes, which we write in Google doc, by the way.

So there you go. We've obviously decided upon that as the best method we we missed a bunch out, so let's flip back ups, go further, back up to the top and we'll look at the mood, the writing and the mood that. As an example, I've, you've, we've all done. It. We've all been forced to write.

To a time constraint and it is amazing how that process can work in both ways. It might motivate you perfectly. On the other hand, it might be that it just grinds your gears. And the fact that you've got to write to a schedule makes you feel pressure. And what have you. So what I'm speaking of here is, the pleasure of writing.

It could be completely different. The experience of writing could be completely different because you're writing for business. You're writing for pleasure. You're writing because you're under pressure. You're writing because your boss is forcing you to, or you're writing because you just love writing poetry.

It makes a real difference.

[00:38:59] David Waumsley: Yeah, I absolutely. I, if I was needed to be paid for writing, then that would just seize up and not be able to do here. Cause I just, I'm not a writer, but I do love writing when. For my own pleasure. In fact, building websites, it's pretty much the same thing I've realized over the time.

If I've got a very loose deadline and thinking time I can enjoy it, I can Potro about with it, experiment with stuff. And writing's the same for that. You'd need the mood and I couldn't do it to a

[00:39:30] Nathan Wrigley: timeframe. Did you ever keep a diary at any point?

[00:39:34] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think I did, but really for very short time.

[00:39:37] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And the same, I've dabbled with it. And it was obvious really soon that I just couldn't get into the flow of what was needed. Mine just became a really boring list of things that I'd done that day. And it just was really utilitarian. So I thought this is pointless. I'm never going to enjoy reading this back.

So I I quickly stopped. You brought about this expertise then, is it wise. If you, if let's say for example, you've got a website getting back to WordPress a bit. If you've got a website, is it the best thing to do to employ a copywriter or are we okay with letting the clients send us whatever it is that they've got, or indeed you writing it for?

[00:40:18] David Waumsley: Yeah, I feel I've become, I've read a fair bit. I used to, I've read a lot of the copy blocker, blogger books and stuff like that before. So I could bring those skills in because of the terrible stuff that is to get submitted because a lot, the clients that I had, their only experience of having to write is what they'd been taught at school.

And. And most of the kind of local trade stuff end up being the same way. You know, a local family run business since blah, blah, blah. It's all says exactly the same stuff so they needed to find their voices. So I think I learnt a bit to be able to do that. And since I've never, there's not been a budget for my clients anyway, to get in a copywriter, but honestly I think.

If selling copies of out selling, isn't it communicating your kind of brand to somebody? If this you know, if I had a client with a budget, I would love it to send that stuff over to a copywriter, because I'm assuming that copywriter, if they understand the web, we'll do the branding for me, they will say what this, the character of this site is all about.

And pass that to me.

[00:41:28] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I think it can be the structure. Yeah, I think you're right. I think if you've got the capacity, having somebody who really knows what they're doing is really good. You mentioned Copyblogger, but there's also people like Todd toddy Jones and copy flight things. They help you try to figure out what it is that your audience need from you and then provide you with the tools to it writes effectively.

Yeah, I think you're right. It, obviously anybody can write, that's the purpose of WordPress and if it's a blog and it doesn't really matter and you're just writing personal stuff down, then. Then probably a good idea to, to get somebody to maybe cast an eye on it, if you're very nervous about it, but you don't need somebody to help you write it, but if you're writing something, you wish it to be effective and you genuinely didn't learn that trade.

Then I would imagine there's utility in getting. Has learned that trade. Yeah. Yeah,

[00:42:25] David Waumsley: but I think when it comes to, Copyblogger's funny, isn't it as a term, cause copy's very much about sales, but when you think of, when I think of blogging, it's not related to, a good blogger for me is someone who is just able to just feels free enough to Belle, to write down how they talk.

And I get a personality, which they're not, they're not what they're doing is not, shouldn't be designed to sell me something. It should literally be you know, something that engages and entertains as if I'm listening to them. Talk to me personally. So yeah, for those

[00:43:00] Nathan Wrigley: kinds of things.

Interesting. W we touched on this, so we maybe don't want to dwell on it cause we are approaching 40 minutes, so we probably would need to wrap up fairly soon, but the, the sort of brevity. Communication now is quite interesting. I've mentioned earlier that the world got into SMS in a big way.

Certainly in Europe, I think it was a little bit later in north America. I remember going to America during a time when everybody was texting back home and was quite surprised to discover that nobody was using it, then. It took off and now we've got all sorts of platforms, which encourage us to write in a very constrained way.

I wonder, if you're an educator and you're talking to you're educating children and teenagers, I wonder if this has made a difference. I wonder if the world is becoming less skilled at writing long form and very skilled at writing briefly and cutting out all the Croft that you don't need.

[00:43:58] David Waumsley: Yeah.

[00:44:00] Nathan Wrigley: You have nothing to add to that? Do you? Confounded you,

[00:44:04] David Waumsley: but it, but it's so big. It's such a big topic that I find that. Yeah. I don't know. It's. I just think that whole stuff is just a new form of communication. I don't know. There's there's a need, isn't there for people to feel connected, but I also think it's bad for a younger generation as well.

They don't know how to disconnect and enjoy a moment of living in the moment where they. So

[00:44:33] Nathan Wrigley: We're in danger here of becoming commodity wins. We must, yeah. Careful move away. The it's interesting though. The, I wonder what the attention span is because nowadays, like the best thing you got as a kid was.

A book with colored pictures. And if you are really lucky, you maybe got a pop-up book or something, you'd open the page and things would flop out in front of you. And it's exciting. But nowadays, if you think about it, the children are, everything is in the one piece. It could have a beautiful.

Typography lovely, vibrant colors, pictures. That could have only been taken seconds ago. On the other side of the planet, there can be video in there. They couldn't even drop games in and interactive content and all of that kind of stuff. And it's just fascinating writing. The consumption of writing is so much bigger now than it was when we were kids, because it literally was reading.

Text now there's so much more thrown in.

[00:45:36] David Waumsley: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, for younger generation, I think, oh gosh, it's so enabling the fact that you've got the internet and you can find out information, you can connect with people who share a very niche interests that you couldn't do when we were growing up.

And I just think, it's so engaging and you see why people want to be connected all the time like that. But I think all of us, I don't think it's just our age here. I think you and I feel the same, Engaged, particularly with Facebook quite a lot, and then needed to pull that back because we're just losing balance in our life.

[00:46:11] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Excuse me. Something just came to mind when you said that sort of interaction I figured if you'd have told me 10 years ago that I'd have a video camera in my pocket that I could use. Talk to my parents on video, I would have assumed that would have replaced almost all written communication, that everybody would be communicating with their face on a video.

And it really hasn't happened. Has it that the preferred communication still is to, to write to one another, like you and I we, we write to each other, w we get on the call to do the podcast but we don't really, we don't do. Time calls or any of that kind of video stuff, but yet we're chatting and chirping away the whole time in different messaging platforms.

And so writing it totally works. So I don't think it's going anywhere. I don't think AI or modern technology or different things that may threaten the predominance of writing. I doubt that they'll actually have have the impact of removing writing from our abilities. Yeah.

[00:47:20] David Waumsley: And you love reading.

There must be something there that the other platforms come off you. So I don't think it's going to go away. And that's the same for many people. I'm not so much. Yeah. I, it should be the other way round where I'm fair in that writing will disappear because I'm not such a big reader,

[00:47:40] Nathan Wrigley: it, the last one let's drag it back to WordPress a little bit just before we finish.

What about the ownership of your writing then? Because is this an important thing? WordPress is mission democratize publishing, make it so that you don't have to go to a third party platform. It's yours. You can delete it or neglect it if you like, or you can curate it and back it up and make sure that it's there for as long as you wish it to be there.

But increasingly we're seeing third party platforms. So as an example, medium is a really popular tool and there's some other ones and their names have gone out of my head. There's one, which is really popular for writing newsletters. I think it's called sub stack. Yes. I'll go with sub stack. You, people are quite happy to do their writing and have it open.

By other people. Now I confess I haven't read the terms and conditions. Maybe they don't own it. Maybe they say it's yours, but we'll host it for you. And what have you, I don't know, in exchange for ad revenue or something, but I'm just curious as to whether or not you believe owning it's in post.

[00:48:41] David Waumsley: I think, I by default, copyright goes to you anyway, it's just a, a natural legal thing, isn't it? So they can't really take that it's yeah. It's about what they can do with it, whether they can monetize it, whether you have that control about where it's displayed is what you lose. It's interesting, because we were recording this at the week where Facebook went down.

Six hours. And I've seen so many people saying, remind everybody, it's a good time to own your own content, and have your own sites. And I don't know on this one, I believe it is still, I believe you want a little space of the internet that's yours. Not only do you own the copyright, but you can decide where that content is going to be displayed.

[00:49:26] Nathan Wrigley: And when I was thinking as people were writing those thoughts yeah, Facebook has calmed down for six hours. I was thinking, websites never go down to the hosting. Companies never have glitches, no, no update to any plugin or theme will ever cause your website to go down. I said, it's a curious argument, although.

Different opinions on Facebook and Twitter and whether they're good custodians of your content. I think it's remarkable how much uptime they have really, I mean, it's, it's, that's the reason it's so shocking when Facebook ads owl go down for six hours because well, it's unprecedented.

But of course, obviously the scale of that collapse internationally, and I, it would appear that lots of people literally couldn't get on with their work because they rely on Facebook groups or messaging systems that are owned by Facebook. So that was quite interesting. Just throw one last thing in which is a plugin call.

Not necessarily a plugin, it's a service, but it is a plugin called word proof, which is quite an interesting idea. It uses blockchain technology to, to. Prove categorically that your writing is in fact your own. So you can timestamp on a blockchain and categorically say, this is mine. I know it's mine.

I produced it first, Nana, and yet I don't know what you would do with that, but you can.

[00:50:52] David Waumsley: Yeah. For some people that's really important to me. I've never even thought I needed that, but I did see it and I thought that's yeah,

[00:50:59] Nathan Wrigley: I will never need that. But I imagine if you're a lawyer or something, the timing of the writing is crucial, yeah. If

[00:51:06] David Waumsley: you're sharing, earth shattering ideas for your blog or something, that could be well

[00:51:12] Nathan Wrigley: Safe ground, then there's no earth shattering ideas coming out of this episode, but I think we've covered it.

[00:51:19] David Waumsley: We have indeed, let's talk about, oh, the last one is

[00:51:22] Nathan Wrigley: showy. Last wall.

What are you talking about? We've got X, Y, Z.

[00:51:28] David Waumsley: Yes, but what combined? Oh, why is that? Oh gosh, this is what ministry we can do with it. But what we're going to do is I guess we're going to summarize what we don't do in WordPress and why we do certain things. And then our Zed is going to represent it's time to put the service to bed.

Love it, basically. Cause we

[00:51:51] Nathan Wrigley: really couldn't think of anything to do for the LASIK. X is becoming like basically delete Y the letter Y is becoming the word. Y and Zed is just a set of Zed, like the traditional going to sleep as such a Kluge.

[00:52:07] David Waumsley: Brilliant. I'm glad you can do something on an X, Y, Z the top level domain name.

Couldn't wait,

[00:52:14] Nathan Wrigley: you've just covered that. That's like the sixth most popular or something.

[00:52:17] David Waumsley: Yeah, I Googled it. That's what he said. I know. I just wonder what anybody did for, why is that? So I came up with,

[00:52:25] Nathan Wrigley: okay that'll be next time. As always lovely chatting to you, have a nice couple of weeks and I'll see you.

Yeah. I hope that you enjoyed that episode. Always lovely to chat with my friend, David really interesting subject. There was way more in that than we thought. When we started out down, this w is for writing course, we will be back in a couple of weeks with our final X, Y, and Zed, but don't forget.

We'll also have an interview next week as well. And as always, don't forget our this week and WordPress show, which will be. Like leave 2:00 PM UK time, WP Builds.com forward slash live. You can see that. And then we'll repurpose that and put it out as a podcast on Tuesday morning. Okay. One last reminder, please do go.

And bookmark WP Builds.com forward slash and black, and make use of those links so that if they're an affiliate link, WP Builds might get a little bit of coffee money, which would be really nice. And as I said, it does keep the lights on and really appreciate your support with. Okay. That's it we'll be back.

As I said, with some more content later in the week for now stay safe. I'm going to fade in really some unbelievably cheesy music this week and say, bye-bye for now.

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